What’s the first thing you notice when you land on an e-commerce website? You probably pay the most attention to the photos, right? That’s because your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.
So when the customer lands on your website, they are unconsciously forming their first impression based on the images. People buy from brands they trust and if the photos are poor quality, then it's hard to build trust and connect with your customers.
Because it’s true – you get only one chance to make a first impression. And if the images don't impress, you could be losing out on some serious sales as an ecommerce business.
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And it’s not just that. The better your product photography is, the higher the perceived value of the products you're selling is. I mean, they say not to judge a book by it's cover, but that's exactly what we do as people.
Eye-tracking studies show that store visitors are first engaged by visual elements, which makes them more likely to stick around and explore the site if yours are top notch. The quality of the images will define this first interaction, the perceived value of your products, and your brand image. We’ll dive deeper into the 7 types of product photography we think every brand should have. Here’s a quick summary so you can skip ahead if you want!
What are the 7 types of product photography?
- The Studio Shot: Your product shot against a plain background
- The Lifestyle Shot: Showing your product in use
- The Detail Shot: Close up shots to highlight features
- The Scale Shot: To give your customers a sense of size
- The Group Shot: Multiple products shot together (bundles)
- The Packaging Shot: Your product styled in a branded way
- The Process Shot: To tell the story behind your product
All The Product Photos You Need
The truth is, the better the stuff looks, the more you will sell. So let’s talk about the 7 different types of product shots you need to take to grow your online store.
1. The Studio Shot
The studio shot is just your product photo taken on a plain background and nothing else. The purpose of this shot is to clearly and attractively present your product to your customers. As you can see in the example below, the studio shot is super simple. Clarity is the only thing you need to focus on here.
Studio shots are most commonly used on product pages. You want shoppers to be able to see exactly what could be theirs.
But beware, gone are the days of the typical fake-white background product photos. Today, customers like to see more on-brand, yet clear studio shots of the product. Choosing backdrops that match your brand can go a long way in creating brand recognition. Here are 12 backdrop ideas for your product photos.
2. The Lifestyle Shot
The lifestyle shot is what you would use to show the customer what their life will look like by using the product. For this, the product will be presented in its natural environment, where it's expected to be used by the customer.
These lifestyle shots help the customer imagine what using the products in their life and home would mean for them. They create a relationship and connection with your audience, so pay special attention to these photos.
Lifestyle shots are most commonly used on your website and for social media posts.
The lifestyle shot below shows a candle next to a vase on a table. This makes it really easy for shoppers to see exactly where the product would work well in their lives.
3. The Detail Shot
The detail shot is a close up shot of the product. This shot helps customers understand and see the details of your products. Here you can see the candle in much more detail.
The purpose of the detail shot is to take away any confusion or answer any questions that the customer might have about the product. This will make it easier for them to make a buying decision.
Detail shots are most commonly used on product pages.
Here’s a detail shot of a candle.
4. The Scale Shot
The scale shot is a photo of the product that shows how big (or small) the product is relative to its environment. Before you buy something in a brick and mortar store, you interact with it, but when it comes to shopping online, you don’t have that option, so you have to make it as clear as possible in your photos. There’s nothing worse than placing an order for something and it’s half the size you expected it to be when it shows up.
Your customers want to know if that hat fits an infant, or if it’s meant for adults. If the vase can hold a full bouquet, or just a few flowers. You get the idea.
Again, scale shots are most commonly used on product pages.
Here’s an example of the scale shot that shows the size of the rings in a woman’s hand.
5. The Group Shot
Group shots are great for showing products that are sold in multiples or different variations like jewelry (available in different finishes) or ceramic mugs available in different colors. Grouping can help depict depth, variations, finishes and angles of a product in one captivating image.
Group shots are most commonly used on product pages.
Here’s an example of a group shot.
6. The Packaging Shot
Packaging is definitely one thing that adds that extra oomph to the ecommerce shopping experience. So if your product packaging is gorgeous, why not show it off on a packaging shot?
Knowing how the product is packaged gives customers a better sense of the branding and what to expect in the mail. Additionally, a beautiful packaging shot can also help convey that the product makes a great gift. It's a win-win!
Packaging shots are most commonly used on product pages (or anywhere on the site, really) and for social posts.
Here’s a beautiful packaging shot from WildBird.
7. The Process Shot
The process shot can be used to emphasize the level of workmanship that went into creating a particular product. So if you are a handmade seller or designer that makes their own products, showing the process behind how it's made can be incredible in terms of building trust and connection with your customers.
Process shots are most commonly used on product pages and social.
Here’s a process shot of a pottery maker.
Bonus: Get product shot with user-generated content
Sharing user-generated content (UGC) is one of the most effective ways to build brand recognition and strengthen your social proof. If customers tag your products on Instagram, make sure to include a shot of that in your product listing. This helps build trust and really influence your customers as they decide to make the purchase.
User generated content is most commonly used on websites, product pages and social media.
Takeaway: You Don’t Need To Spend Thousands To Get Amazing Product Photos
People remember 80% of what they see and just 20% of what they read. So your product photos have a little bit of an advantage when it comes to capturing attention and creating memories about your brand.
They allow you to guide your customers and help them envision what it would be like to have your products in their daily lives.
Because remember: they can’t interact with your products until after they’ve made the purchase. Help them make the buying decision easier by giving them all the information they need so there aren’t any surprises once they receive their package. You want them to be thinking, “This is exactly what I wanted,” not “Oh man, this isn’t anything like what I imagined.”
And you definitely don’t need a fancy studio or a high-end DSLR camera to take stunning product photos. You can take your product photos right from your iphone. This free 5-day email course from Product Photography School will help you learn how.
And pssst 🤫 you can also listen to this episode of The Ecommerce Marketing Show where I talked about all this with Dave.